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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Perfect Pie Crust

This recipe is a warm-up for an upcoming post, apple pie. I've made the pie crust multiple times for different pie recipes. I've used it for chicken pot pie, cherry pie, blueberry pie, and apple pie and it always comes out perfectly flaky. It's not too sweet for a savory pie and just sweet enough for desserts. I'm sure it would also work for pumpkin pie or pecan pie come Thanksgiving. Of course coming from Annie's Eats it's a recipe that couldn't possibly fail.

The dough does need to chill in the fridge for bit so plan your recipe accordingly. I like to make the dough in the morning to allow enough chill time. The instructions are similar to those for making biscuits but with a small difference. When making biscuits you want most of the butter worked into the flour until it looks like cornmeal and holds its shape when you squeeze it together in your hand. Pie dough requires small pieces of butter not to be worked into the flour, about pea sized pieces, so that when it bakes it creates flaky layers.

This recipe makes one pie crust. That's one bottom crust or one top crust. If you're making a pie with a top and bottom crust you'll need to make a double recipe.

Don't be intimidated by this. It's much easier than it sounds and there's a way you can kind of cheat. When the instructions say to cut the butter into small pieces you can instead freeze the butter and grate it with a large slot vegetable grater. This makes the pieces just about pea sized so then all you have to do is work some of them into the flour without worrying about breaking down the large 1/4 Tbsp size chunks of butter. It reduces the risk of overworking the dough or melting the butter too much as it comes in contact with your skin.

Perfect Pie Crust

Source: Annie's Eats

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces (or frozen and coarsely grated)
3 Tbsp very cold water

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a medium-large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.

Add the butter.

Using two knives, a pastry blender, or your fingers work the butter into the flour until it forms coarse crumbs, leaving pea sized chunks of butter in the flour.

Add the water a little at a time and mix with your hands until the dough comes together.

Form the dough into a round disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge until it firms up, about 30 minutes to an hour.

When you're ready to make your pie remove the plastic wrap and place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll with a lightly floured rolling pin rotating the dough 1/4 turn every couple of rolls (be sure to lift the dough from the work surface to prevent sticking and flour again if necessary) keeping the dough as close to round as possible. (I'm sorry but I've misplaced the pictures that go here.)

Roll to your desired thickness and check to be sure it's big enough to fit your pie pan. Place the dough in your pan and press gently into the corners. As you can see I didn't do a great job with this but the taste is the same so why worry about it? Cut the excess off the edges with a sharp knife and fill with your desired filling.

Now that you have a great pie crust you'll be prepared for the apple pie coming soon!

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